Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wheee! What a predicament!

The NBA Finals start tomorrow night and, despite some tough talk a few days ago, I'm starting to get excited about Lakers/Celtics. I'm still not totally sold on the "Celtics mystique" after two decades of futility, but the clash of the uniform colors, and Bill Simmons' comment that, "For stoners, watching a Celts-Lakers game in HD is like staring at a 50-foot fish tank," well, the man has a point.

I'm not allowed to make a prediction, either, because loyal reader B. Gray told me, "enough of your Celtics negativity, first it was pick Detroit, they've got Stuckey, now you want to piss on this series... a little homerism, please." On top of that, Frownies linked over to my Pistons pick, and another reader viciously and repeatedly accused me of giving the Celtics the dreaded "double-reverse schmoo." Looking back on my words, it would be hard to argue the point, but I swear it wasn't intentional.

At least in this series I can claim I haven't seen the Lakers that much, but I know they're good. Good enough to beat the Celtics, but the Celtics are good enough to beat them, too. I'm not sold on the Lakers' second-tier players — Farmar, Vujacic, Radmanovic, Walton — and even Fisher and Odom are overrated, but I'm realizing more and more that it's all Kobe, and he's just that good. I'm not ready to say he's better than Jordan quite yet — let's let the man win one "on his own" first. This would be the time, and it's possible he could do it in as few as five games, but I'm not ready to say that: I've underrated the Celtics all year, and I'm not going to do it now. If Perk can stay out of foul trouble and Pierce can light it up, the Celtics can win. I'm not as sold on the idea of Ray Allen being the X-Factor, as in, "if Ray Allen scores 25 the Celtics will win," which seems to be a common idea; his defense is lazy enough that he has to score just to balance out the points he costs on the defensive end. I think Pierce is the X-factor. It doesn't get any more big-time than this for the Captain. If he wants to be next to Larry Bird in stature and not just in number, this is his time. It's almost inconceivable he's in this position, but he is. Now let's do it.

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